A Marlene Dietrich Inspired Suit

by Debi

in 1930s,1940s

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted here in ages! I just wanted to share my latest creation that was inspired by Marlene Dietrich that I made for the Sew Cinematic challenge.

This is my best Marlene Dietrich pose.  Though nobody makes looking serious and stern look as glamorous as Marlene:
I used McCall 3260 which is a pattern from 1939 for the tailored jacket.  I love how this pattern transcends time and looks almost modern.  It features a notched collar (or a collarless version), neatly shaped front pockets, a pleated sleevecap and a fairly straight sleeve.
 The pattern instructions are very complete and include instructions on interlining the facing and collar (which I did with muslin), using tailor’s tape as well as lining instructions.  I didn’t have any tailor’s tape so I just cut thin pieces of fusible interfacing and placed it just inside the seam line all the way down the front facing of the jacket and also in the collar.  And wow, what a difference that makes to having a crisp edge.  I didn’t use interfacing anywhere else in the jacket as per the pattern instructions.

I forgot to mention the fabric.  This is a British lightweight wool that I got on a super sale at my local fabric store (with a groupon voucher no less).  I LOVE this fabric.

I was very careful in cutting out the fabric to try and match up the plaid stripes.  Can I just say that I love the shape of the pockets as well–a neat crescent shaped opening at the top of an otherwise normal patch pocket.  Topstitching pockets always makes me nervous, though!

 I lined the jacket with some remnant mystery fabric that I got in San Fransisco for $1.  I believe it is also some sort of sateen.  It’s not your normal lining fabric and has a medium-hand.  I really like the structure it gives to the jacket.  I also forgot when I was inserting the lining: a) how much time it takes to hand sew it down, and b) how you need to leave quite a bit of ease in the lining fabric.
The trousers are my favourite TNT (Tried ‘n True) pattern, a Simplicity reissue (3688) from 1941.  I also used this pattern for the One Week, One Pattern challenge and this is my fourth make of these trousers.  I got just enough of this British wool to make the jacket.  After a week of thinking about the jacket, I decided I should go get some more of the fabric since it was such a ridiculous deal to make matching trousers.  I went back to the store and luckily, they still had some of the fabric and I ended up buying the rest of what they had!  I think I might have enough leftover to make a matching skirt!
I wore a basic white shirt and borrowed one of David’s ties and wore my brown beret to complete the Marlene look.  I really love it!
There’s something about a suit that gets me every time!  I intend to wear this one a lot.  I am really happy with the construction of the jacket and I think these are the best trousers I’ve made yet!  Thanks Marlene for the inspiration!  More pictures over on my blog (and thank you everyone for your sweet comments on my blog post!)

This post was written by...

– who has written 3 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

I'm absolutely in love with vintage fashion! I blog over at My Happy Sewing Place (http://fashionsfromthepast.blogspot.com) about my sewing adventures recreating looks from the 30's to the 60's. I live in Scotland with my amazing husband and adorable kitty!

Debi's posts / Debi's website

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Moe April 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm

What a fantastic suit! Very nice job. And it looks very smart on you.

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thanks Moe!

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Alexandra Wettstein April 10, 2012 at 5:33 am

Oh how I love Marlene, and you made that suit look fabulous. Great photo’s and awesome idea :D

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I love Marlene too! She’s such a fun style inspiration!

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Claire April 10, 2012 at 6:55 am

This is so classy and so beautiful. Not only did you make a good suit but you make the suit look good!

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thanks so much! I had a blast making this!

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Katherine April 10, 2012 at 8:50 am

I love the cut of these trousers. Truly excellent :D

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thank you, my dear! What a lovely comment!

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LadyD April 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

Smart suit and stylish.

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thanks LadyD!

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D'ellis April 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

Also adore your version of Ms. M. Totally chic! Last year had seen same photo pf her, then researched her style. A director (lover?) taught her to pose. Study her feet. tilt/slant of upper & lower torso – she learned to direct lighting, too, if I recall. She became very knowledgeable in how to make herself glamorous. You’re getting it in the photo on the church (?) stairs!

(Sorry am not into google & can’t comment on your blog!)

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm

That’s really fascinating! I had no idea that she learned so much about photography/posing! What a clever lady!

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Evie April 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Oh, Debi! I quite literally almost yelled when I scrolled down and saw your first photo! This suit is amazing and you look absolutely wonderful. The colors, the styling, everything is spot on. You did a beautiful job!

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm

awwww…thanks so much Evie! I had fun styling up this suit!

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Godsgirlt April 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

What a delightful suit! Gorgeous fabric and you look fabulous in it! You’re already a winner with these master”pieces”!

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Debi April 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I have some more of this fabric and I can’t wait to make a matching skirt OR a vest or both! :)

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Jamie April 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Wonderful! You picked a great style idol, and your suit and look are perfect!

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